何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

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Blog Articles From My Grandson on College Life (3 & 4) 精选

已有 6689 次阅读 2009-10-31 21:05 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:海外观察

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I went to US colleges more than 50 years ago. Things were very different then. Thus, I thought my experience will not be relevant to the increasing number of Chinese youth who are coming to the  US for UNDERGRADUATE studies. Similarly, their parents would also find more assurances from reading writings directly from someone who is currently going through college than from me. (see also notes added 11/16/09 in article #5 in this series  http://www.sciencenet.cn/m/user_content.aspx?id=270393 )
Thus, I asked my oldest grandson, Daniel Kim, who is a sophomore in college now to write something. His first two articles garnered substantial interests. http://www.sciencenet.cn/m/user_content.aspx?id=249196,  http://www.sciencenet.cn/m/user_content.aspx?id=246191 
As a result I have asked him to continue. Here below are the third and fourth article. Please give him some feedback which he specifically asked for so that he can be more responsive in the future.
Third article
           When my grandfather first asked me to write for his blog, I thought it would be a one time thing. Thus the fact that I have already contributed several articles is surprising to me. He told me that Chinese students would be interested in an American student’s perspective such as my own. He has also told me that my articles have received many views and comments.
           Now I cannot read or speak Chinese, so it is possible this is merely the biased goings on of a proud grandfather, whom I love dearly. Maybe students who read my grandfathers blog expecting wisdom and intellect are surprised when they find the rambling of a 20 year old student. However if there are people interested in reading this, I would like to know what you think. My grandfather translates and sends me the comments people write so I do receive them. My question is this. Are there any issues that you (the readers) would like to know about in particular? My grandfather sometimes gives me ideas, or I come up with them on my own, but I do think it would be beneficial if I knew what people wanted to know about. I have mainly been writing about the differences in college life between America and China because I am under the impression that Chinese students read this blog. However, I don’t know. My grandfather is very old, so when he says students, he could mean his students who are already professors themselves. In any case, if you feel like it, please post suggestions on what you might like to see. The culture? The schoolwork? Or something else? Chinese or English is fine, as my grandfather will surely translate and then send the comments to me. I haven’t really decided how I am going to do this yet. If perhaps enough people want to know about something, I will write about that. Or maybe I will pick out the ones most interesting to me. Or maybe I will just totally ignore everything and write something else.
           One more thing. I was born in America, raised in America, and as such am part of American culture. However I recognize that not all cultures are the same. I like to make jokes, but I do not know how well they translate or if their meaning is secured. For instance, the line I wrote about possibly ignoring all of your suggestions was a joke. A good guideline with me is, if you think it is offensive, than it’s possible it was a joke. For instance, I respect my grandfather immensely and love him. It is because I love him that I make jokes about his age, as I did earlier. It is NOT because I am scornful of my elders. I will not presume to know the Chinese culture just because I am half Chinese. If you find yourself offended by something that I write, please tell me. I cannot guarantee that I will change it, but I would like to know how my words are being conveyed.
Fourth article
In America, when students go to college, they often face a dilemma that many over the world do not have. Should I bring the car? We are blessed to live in a relatively wealthy nation, therefore it is not uncommon for students to have their own cars, usually used ones passed down through the family. My grandfather actually sold his old Range Rover to Ayi for her to use. (note 1 below)
           Deciding whether or not to take the car with you to college depends mainly on where you are going to college. For instance if you go to a city school, it usually does not make sense to bring your car as you will have to pay for the extremely limited parking in cities, the gas, and most likely, you will not end up using it since you can get to most places by train, taxi, bike, or walking like I do. However, if you go to a school in a more rural area, it may be to your advantage to bring the car, so you can go into the city for the weekends. Are you going to a college close to home? Then maybe you should bring the car so you can drive down on weekends to visit the family. On the other hand, if you go far away, like my sister who is currently in California, then it makes no sense because it would be very silly to drive the car from Connecticut to California, and vice versa.
          My grandfather asked that I write these pieces from the perspective of an American student, however, I do not see any reason why this information couldn’t apply to anyone who is moving as well. If you are currently thinking of bringing your car to school or even buying a car once you get there, think about the following first.
           
-Will you use it enough to make it worth bringing? This seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many things people bring to college and then end up not using it. Therefore if you are going to bring/buy a car or even anything, a new wastebasket, a fan, whatever, make sure you will use it. This goes especially for a car and you will see why in the next point.
 
-The upkeep of a car is expensive. One of the major money drains in having a car is parking. Perhaps you are lucky enough to find a school that has plenty of free parking, but this is unlikely. In Philadelphia, there were many parking garages that charged flat rates per hour or per day. Both were ridiculously expensive.
 
-Do you need it? This is similar to the first point. I attended Drexel, a city school in Philadelphia. While I was there, I never once found myself in need of my own car. There were subways, taxis, buses, but mostly I spent my time walking. If your neighborhood is safe enough, and you know your way around, I would highly recommend this just as a pastime. I would often walk throughout the city for hours on end, discovering little restaurants and shops that I probably would have missed otherwise. Take a walk. Get to know the city better. Listen to music while you walk. And above all, it is good exercise but not too strenuous. You can set your own pace, your own distance, and free your mind every so often, just by stopping and looking around. Obviously this works best for city schools but if you go to a more rural school and there is a town nearby, go for a walk and see what that town has to offer.
(Note 1 added by Yu-Chi Ho: This happened in 1998, it was a Nissan pathfinder SUV not a Range Rover. Daniel was only 9 years old then . I am surprised he even remembered this much)
 


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